US8851756B2 - Whirl inhibiting coast-down bearing for magnetic bearing systems - Google Patents

Whirl inhibiting coast-down bearing for magnetic bearing systems Download PDF

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Publication number
US8851756B2
US8851756B2 US13534219 US201213534219A US8851756B2 US 8851756 B2 US8851756 B2 US 8851756B2 US 13534219 US13534219 US 13534219 US 201213534219 A US201213534219 A US 201213534219A US 8851756 B2 US8851756 B2 US 8851756B2
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rings
shaft
coast
bearing
down
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US20130004104A1 (en )
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Martin D. Maier
H. Allan Kidd
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Dresser-Rand Co
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Dresser-Rand Co
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16CSHAFTS; FLEXIBLE SHAFTS; ELEMENTS OR CRANKSHAFT MECHANISMS; ROTARY BODIES OTHER THAN GEARING ELEMENTS; BEARINGS
    • F16C39/00Relieving load on bearings
    • F16C39/02Relieving load on bearings using mechanical means
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16CSHAFTS; FLEXIBLE SHAFTS; ELEMENTS OR CRANKSHAFT MECHANISMS; ROTARY BODIES OTHER THAN GEARING ELEMENTS; BEARINGS
    • F16C17/00Sliding-contact bearings for exclusively rotary movement
    • F16C17/02Sliding-contact bearings for exclusively rotary movement for radial load only
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16CSHAFTS; FLEXIBLE SHAFTS; ELEMENTS OR CRANKSHAFT MECHANISMS; ROTARY BODIES OTHER THAN GEARING ELEMENTS; BEARINGS
    • F16C32/00Bearings not otherwise provided for
    • F16C32/04Bearings not otherwise provided for using magnetic or electric supporting means
    • F16C32/0406Magnetic bearings
    • F16C32/044Active magnetic bearings
    • F16C32/0442Active magnetic bearings with devices affected by abnormal, undesired or non-standard conditions such as shock-load, power outage, start-up or touchdown

Abstract

A coast-down bearing and method for a magnetic bearing system is provided. The bearing includes first, second, and third rings disposed around a shaft. The first, second, and third rings each have an inner diameter that is greater than an outer diameter of the shaft and provide a running clearance therebetween. The first, second, and third rings are eccentrically positioned with respect to each other to form a pocket for receiving the shaft during a drop, radial shock, or both.

Description

BACKGROUND

This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 61/502,397 , which was filed Jun. 29, 2011 , The priority application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety into the present application.

Magnetic bearings support a shaft by magnetic levitation, without physical contact, thereby eliminating mechanical wear and exhibiting very low friction. One disadvantage to magnetic bearings, however, is their inability to accommodate high dynamic loads due to their limited load capacity. During peak transient load events, the bearings are unable to control rotor motion causing the rotor to contact the bearings, resulting in significant damage thereto. To account for this, magnetic bearing systems often employ one or more coast-down bearings, also known as auxiliary, backup, secondary, or catcher bearings or bushings. The coast-down bearings are designed to support the shaft in the event of a failure or shutdown of the magnetic bearing system, while the shaft is slowing down (i.e., coasting down). This prevents the shaft from impacting and damaging the magnetic bearings.

Conventional coast-down bearings provide a clearance between the bearing and the shaft. During normal operation, the magnetic bearings support the shaft and hold it within this clearance such that the shaft rarely, if ever, contacts the coast-down bearing; thus, the coast-down bearing is typically stationary with respect to the shaft during such normal operation. When the magnetic bearing system shuts down or otherwise fails to support the shaft in the clearance, the shaft is constrained by the coast-down bearing, preventing damage to the magnetic bearing. When the shaft impacts the coast-down bearing, however, the rotational motion of the shaft is not always stable and very high stresses and dynamic loads are often endured by the coast-down bearing, which limits its useful life.

One way in which dynamic loading of the coast-down bearing can be experienced is by the shaft whirling during coast-down, that is, when the shaft “orbits” around the interior of the coast-down bearing. Whirling generally has two modes, forward whirl, where the shaft orbits in the same direction as it rotates, and backward whirl, where the shaft orbits in the opposite direction from which it rotates. Backward whirl can be particularly problematic for coast-down bearings.

What is needed then is a coast-down bearing that minimizes dynamic loading caused by whirling, thereby increasing the useful life of the coast-down bearings.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the disclosure may provide an exemplary coast-down bearing for a magnetic bearing system. The bearing includes first, second, and third rings disposed around a shaft. The first, second, and third rings each have an inner diameter that is greater than an outer diameter of the shaft and provide a running clearance therebetween. The first, second, and third rings are eccentrically positioned with respect to each other to form a pocket for receiving the shaft during a drop, radial shock, or both.

Embodiments of the disclosure may also provide an exemplary method for reducing shaft whirl during coast-down. The method includes receiving a shaft in a pocket formed by first and second eccentric rings of a coast-down bearing disposed around the shaft. The method also includes maintaining a center of the shaft below a nominal center of the coast-down bearing.

Embodiments of the disclosure may further provide an exemplary apparatus for supporting a shaft during coast-down. The apparatus includes a plurality of eccentric rings disposed around the shaft and radially-spaced therefrom to provide a running clearance between the shaft and the plurality of eccentric rings. At least two of the plurality of eccentric rings each have a center vertically offset above a nominal center of the apparatus, such that the at least two of the plurality of eccentric rings provide a pocket to receive the shaft during the coast-down.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present disclosure is best understood from the following detailed description when read with the accompanying Figures. It is emphasized that, in accordance with the standard practice in the industry, various features are not drawn to scale. In fact, the dimensions of the various features may be arbitrarily increased or reduced for clarity of discussion.

FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic, axial end view of an exemplary coast-down bearing, according to an aspect of the disclosure.

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic, side view of an exemplary coast-down bearing, according to an aspect of the disclosure.

FIG. 3 illustrates a flowchart of an exemplary method for supporting a shaft during coast-down, according to an aspect of the disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

It is to be understood that the following disclosure describes several exemplary embodiments for implementing different features, structures, or functions of the invention. Exemplary embodiments of components, arrangements, and configurations are described below to simplify the present disclosure; however, these exemplary embodiments are provided merely as examples and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. Additionally, the present disclosure may repeat reference numerals and/or letters in the various exemplary embodiments and across the Figures provided herein. This repetition is for the purpose of simplicity and clarity and does not in itself dictate a relationship between the various exemplary embodiments and/or configurations discussed in the various Figures. Moreover, the formation of a first feature over or on a second feature in the description that follows may include embodiments in which the first and second features are formed in direct contact, and may also include embodiments in which additional features may be formed interposing the first and second features, such that the first and second features may not be in direct contact. Finally, the exemplary embodiments presented below may be combined in any combination of ways, i.e., any element from one exemplary embodiment may be used in any other exemplary embodiment, without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

Additionally, certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, various entities may refer to the same component by different names, and as such, the naming convention for the elements described herein is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, unless otherwise specifically defined herein. Further, the naming convention used herein is not intended to distinguish between components that differ in name but not function. Additionally, in the following discussion and in the claims, the terms “including” and “comprising” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to.” All numerical values in this disclosure may be exact or approximate values unless otherwise specifically stated. Accordingly, various embodiments of the disclosure may deviate from the numbers, values, and ranges disclosed herein without departing from the intended scope. Furthermore, as it is used in the claims or specification, the term “or” is intended to encompass both exclusive and inclusive cases, i.e., “A or B” is intended to be synonymous with “at least one of A and B,” unless otherwise expressly specified herein.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a schematic, axial end view and a schematic, side view, respectively, of a coast-down bearing 10, according to an exemplary embodiment. The bearing 10 generally includes a plurality of eccentric rings (three are shown: 12, 14, 16). The rings 12, 14, 16 are generally annular and sized to receive a shaft 18 therethrough. The rings 12, 14, 16 may be constructed from a wear-resistant material, as is known in the art. In an exemplary embodiment, the rings 12, 14, 16 may all have a common inner diameter D. In other embodiments, the rings 12, 14, 16 may have varying, but approximately equal diameters D. The shaft 18 may be supported by one or more magnetic radial bearings (not shown) during normal operation, and supported by the bearing 10 during, for example, a “drop event” such as a shutdown or failure of the magnetic radial bearing to support the shaft 18. The shaft 18 may be configured for use in a turbomachine, such as a centrifugal compressor, although the shaft 18 may be part of any other rotating machine, whether capable of transferring energy to or from a process fluid or used for other purposes.

Each of the rings 12, 14, 16 defines a center 20, 22, 24, respectively, about which each ring 12, 14, 16 is disposed. In an embodiment, the centers 20, 22, 24 may define and be angularly spaced apart or offset around a circle 26. The circle 26 may be further defined by a radius R, which extends from a nominal center 28 of the coast-down bearing 10 and represents the distance from the nominal center 28 to the centers 20, 22, 24. During normal operation, the central axis of the shaft 18 generally resides at the nominal center 28 of the coast-down bearing 10, as shown, although deviations in the position of the shaft 18 are expected due to vibration, shaft eccentricities, rotordynamic anomalies, etc. Given the offset centers 20, 22, 24, the rings 12, 14, 16 may be described as being eccentrically-disposed with respect to the shaft 18 and/or with respect to each other. It will be appreciated that the eccentricity of the rings 12, 14, 16 is exaggerated in FIGS. 1 and 2 for illustrative purposes and the radius R may be less than about 10 thousandths of an inch (0.010 inches), for example. Furthermore, the centers 20, 22, 24 may not all be precisely offset by the same, uniform distance from the nominal center 28, but may be offset by a substantially uniform distance, for example, the center 20 may be offset from the nominal center 28 by a distance that is within about 20%, about 15%, about 10%, about 5%, about 2%, or about 1% of the distance that the other centers 22, 24 are offset from the nominal center 28.

In an exemplary embodiment, the centers 20, 22, 24 may be separated or offset equiangularly around the circle 26. For example, in the illustrated three-ring embodiment of the bearing 10, the centers 20, 22, 24 may be separated by about 120 degrees around the circle 26. In embodiments including additional rings (not shown), the centers 20, 22, 24 may be separated by an angle equal to approximately 360 degrees divided by the number of rings. In other embodiments, however, the centers 20, 22, 24 may be separated by unequal angular amounts, which may be of any angular measurement.

The rings 12, 14, 16, as best illustrated in FIG. 2, may be stacked axially along the shaft 18 to provide the bearing 10. The rings 12, 14, 16 may be directly supported by a housing 36 in which the shaft 18 is disposed, or may be indirectly supported by the housing 36, for example, via one or more support structures (not shown). Although not shown, in various embodiments, the rings 12, 14, 16 may be coupled together and/or contained in a common housing 36, which may be directly or indirectly supported by a casing for housing the shaft 18 and/or any other rotatable components of the machine (not shown). In various embodiments, however, such housing 36 and/or other axial interconnection between the rings 12, 14, 16 may be unnecessary and/or advantageously omitted. In various embodiments, a compliant material (not shown) such as a metal mesh may be employed to provide damping and thus reduce vibration as the shaft 18 decelerates during coast-down. Such a compliant material may be disposed between the rings 12, 14, 16 and the housing 36 and/or between the housing 36 and the casing (not shown) in which the shaft 18 is disposed.

As shown, the angular separation of the centers 20, 22, 24 may translate into an arrangement of different vertical locations for the rings 12, 14, 16 with respect to one another and/or to the shaft 18. For example, rings 12 and 16 may be disposed at approximately the same vertical position, as shown, while the ring 14 is offset with respect thereto, being disposed at a lower vertical position. Further, as shown in FIG. 1, the rings 12, 16 may be laterally offset from each other and from the ring 14, such that the rings 12 and 16 occupy opposite lateral extremes of the bearing 10, as shown, with the ring 14 positioned laterally between the two other rings 12, 16. In at least one embodiment, the center 22 of the ring 14 is offset vertically from the center 28 by the radius R, while the other two centers 20, 24 are offset vertically from the center 28 by about 0.5 times the magnitude of the radius R. It will be appreciated, however, that other relative angular positioning of the rings 12, 14, 16 with respect to each other and/or the shaft 18 is contemplated herein, the illustrated embodiment being one example of many consistent with this disclosure.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the rings 12, 14, 16 are sized and positioned to provide a running clearance C between the bearing 10 and the shaft 18, such that the shaft 18 generally does not contact the rings 12, 14, 16 during normal operation (i.e., when the shaft 18 is effectively suspended by the magnetic radial bearings (not shown)). Proceeding around the shaft 18, the clearance C varies, decreasing in magnitude until it reaches a minimum at an angular location between two of the centers 20, 22, 24, and then proceeding back to a maximum at an angular location where two of the rings 12, 14, 16 appear to overlap (again, it being appreciated that the rings 12, 14, 16 remain spaced axially apart).

In an exemplary embodiment, the rings 12, 14, 16 may be capable of rotating by engagement with the shaft 18, such that they retain their respective centers 20, 22, 24 but are capable of rotating. Accordingly, during normal operation, the rings 12, 14, 16 may be stationary or nearly so, but may not be restrained from rotating. When the shaft 18 contacts the rings 12, 14, 16 during a drop (i.e., when the primary magnetic radial bearings (not shown) are shutdown or otherwise fail to support the shaft 18 in the clearance C), friction forces applied by the rotating shaft 18 may cause the rings 12, 14, 16 to accelerate rapidly, to at least a fraction of the rotational speed of the shaft 18. In such rotating embodiments, the rings 12, 14, 16 may include pilot rings 29, 31, 33, respectively, which are disposed in annular grooves 30, 32, 34, respectively, defined in the housing 36. The pilot rings 29, 31, 33 may be coated in and/or fabricated from anti-friction material, as known in the art, and may slide against and be supported by the annular grooves 30, 32, 34. In some embodiments, however, the pilot rings 29, 31, 33 may slide on rolling elements (not shown) and/or may be lubricated, floating in fluid, or the like. One, some, or all of the rings 12, 14, 16 may, however, be stationary, and may or may not include such pilot rings 29, 31, 33 and/or grooves 30, 32, 34, but may be otherwise mounted in the housing 36.

The pilot rings 29, 31, 33 may provide reduced friction surfaces, as well as functioning to preserve alignment of the bearing 10 during coast-down. In some embodiments, however, the pilot rings 29, 31, 33 may be omitted and a coating or substance may be applied on the outside surface of the rings 12, 14, 16 and/or inside surface of the annular grooves 30, 32, 34 to accomplish a desired reduction in friction.

In exemplary operation, the magnetic radial bearings (not shown) may drop the shaft 18 (i.e., initiating a “drop event”), such that it initially falls vertically downward, for example, shifting its center 28 toward the center 22. Before the center 28 of the shaft 18 can reach the center 22 of the ring 14, however, the shaft 18 contacts the rings 12, 16 along two lines of contact 100, 102. As shown, the two lines of contact 100, 102 are not directly below the shaft 18, but are positioned at angular offsets due to the upward and lateral shifting of the rings 12 16. As such, the rings 12, 16 form a “pocket” 104 for receiving the shaft 18. In the pocket 104, the lateral distance over which the shaft 18 is free to move, before it engages one of the rings 12, 16 is reduced, as compared to a more traditional single-ring bearing.

The ring 14 provides a “roof” for the pocket 104, formed by the rings 12, 16, further constraining the vibration amplitude of the shaft 18 and maintaining the center 28 of the shaft 18 in the lower half of the bearing 10. Accordingly, the ring 14 may provide a third line of contact 105 which engages the shaft 18. By constraining the shaft 18 in the lower half of the bearing 10, the bearing 10 resists the shaft 18 tendency to whirl during coast down, thereby reducing dynamic loading on the bearing 10.

As noted above, the rings 12, 14, 16 may be generally stationary or may rotate with the shaft 18. When configured to rotate with the shaft 18, the rings 12, 14, 16 may receive energy from contact with the rotating shaft 18 after the drop and during coast-down. Inertia of the rings 12, 14, 16 is minimized, thereby enabling the rings 12, 14, 16 to increase in speed to an intermediate speed that is a fraction of the speed of the shaft 18. This may further reduce the energy transferred from the shaft 18 to the bearing 10, thereby increasing the useful life of the bearing 10.

FIG. 3 illustrates a flowchart of an exemplary method 200 for reducing shaft whirl during coast-down. The method 200 may proceed by operation of the bearing 10 described above with reference to FIG. 1-2 and may thus be best understood with reference thereto. The method 200 generally includes receiving a shaft in a pocket formed by first and second eccentric rings of a coast-down bearing disposed around the shaft, as at 202. The method 200 may also include maintaining a center of the shaft below a nominal center of the coast-down bearing, as at 204.

In an exemplary embodiment, receiving the shaft in the pocket at 202 may include contacting the shaft with the first ring along a first line of contact and contacting the shaft with the second ring along a second line of contact to constrain vibration of the shaft. Furthermore, maintaining the center of the shaft below the nominal center of the bearing at 204 may include providing a roof for the pocket with a third ring of the coast-down bearing. Additionally, the method 200 may include rotating at least one of the first, second, and third rings at a speed that is at least a fraction of a rotational speed of the shaft, as at 206.

The foregoing has outlined features of several embodiments so that those skilled in the art may better understand the present disclosure. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they may readily use the present disclosure as a basis for designing or modifying other processes and structures for carrying out the same purposes and/or achieving the same advantages of the embodiments introduced herein. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure, and that they may make various changes, substitutions and alterations herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.

Claims (16)

We claim:
1. An apparatus for supporting a shaft during coast-down, the apparatus comprising:
a plurality of eccentric rings disposed around the shaft and radially-spaced therefrom to provide a running clearance between the shaft and the plurality of eccentric rings, wherein
at least two of the plurality of eccentric rings each have a center vertically offset above a nominal center of the apparatus, such that the at least two of the plurality of eccentric rings provide a pocket to receive the shaft during the coast-down, and
at least one of the plurality of eccentric rings is received in a groove defined in a housing, the housing receiving the shaft and the housing supporting the apparatus.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the centers of the at least two of the plurality of eccentric rings are laterally-offset with respect to each other.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein another one of the plurality of eccentric rings defines a center that is vertically-offset below the nominal center.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the plurality of eccentric rings each define an inner diameter, the inner diameters of each being approximately the same.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the plurality of eccentric rings is configured to rotate at a speed that is at least a fraction of a rotational speed of the shaft during a shaft drop.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein at least one of the plurality of eccentric rings includes a pilot ring slidably disposed in the groove.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the plurality of eccentric rings has a center vertically offset below the nominal center, such that the at least one of the plurality of eccentric rings provides a roof for the pocket.
8. A coast-down bearing for a magnetic bearing system, the coast-down bearing comprising:
first, second, and third rings disposed around a shaft, wherein
each of the first, second, and third rings has an inner diameter that is greater than an outer diameter of the shaft and a running clearance is defined between each of the first, second, and third rings and the shaft,
the first, second, and third rings are eccentrically positioned with respect to each other to form a pocket for receiving the shaft during a drop, radial shock, or both, and
each of the first, second, and third rings is received in a respective annular groove defined in a housing, the housing receiving the shaft and the housing supporting the coast-down bearing.
9. The coast-down bearing of claim 8, wherein the first, second, and third rings each define a center offset by a substantially uniform distance from a nominal center of the coast-down bearing and defining a circle around the nominal center.
10. The coast-down bearing of claim 9, wherein the centers of the first, second, and third rings are offset from one another by about 120 degrees around the circle.
11. The coast-down bearing of claim 8, wherein the first, second, and third rings each define a center, the centers of the first and third rings being positioned vertically above the center of the second ring.
12. The coast down bearing of claim 11, wherein the first and third rings are configured to provide the pocket to receive the shaft.
13. The coast-down bearing of claim 8, wherein the inner diameters of the first, second, and third rings are approximately the same.
14. The coast-down bearing of claim 8, wherein at least one of the first, second, and third rings is configured to rotate by contact with the shaft during said drop, said radial shock or both.
15. The coast-down bearing of claim 14, wherein the at least one of the first, second, and third rings includes a pilot ring, the pilot ring being disposed in the annular groove that receives the at least one of the first, second, and third rings.
16. The coast-down bearing of claim 8, wherein at least one of the first, second, and third rings is configured to remain stationary when shaft is dropped.
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US9657744B2 (en) 2013-02-13 2017-05-23 Dresser-Rand Company Midspan active magnetic bearing

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WO2012158266A3 (en) * 2011-05-17 2013-01-10 Dresser-Rand Company Coast down bushing for magnetic bearing systems

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9151325B2 (en) 2011-04-08 2015-10-06 Dresser-Rand Company Self-lubricating snubber bearing
US9657744B2 (en) 2013-02-13 2017-05-23 Dresser-Rand Company Midspan active magnetic bearing

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